The Derwent Project is a collaboration between artists David Stephenson and Martin Walch; it visualises in new ways the complex natural and cultural history of Tasmania's Derwent River system. This vast and often inaccessible environment includes Aboriginal and colonial heritage alongside ten hydroelectric developments; its multiple layers of space and time present opportunities to synthesise artistic and scientific paradigms of representation by drawing on geography, history, and archaeology.
The aim of the Derwent Project is to produce a new aesthetic of experiencing a multilayered landscape over time, conveying its rich layering of information with clarity and impact. This is being achieved through the development of a highly portable means of image and sound capture that creates a powerful immersive representation of an intimate experience of remote environments; a means of layering additional environmental and historical information within these immersive representations; and a display approach that can cost-effectively present these immersive experiences in a range of different exhibition spaces. The visual outcomes will be new forms of immersive time-based digital imaging that evocatively reveal hidden layers of environmental information to both specialist and general audiences, by creating a comprehensive immersive 360º representation of an entire river system.
The Derwent Project commenced in 2010 and was supported by two University of Tasmania research grants before receiving funding from the Australian Research Council as a 2014-16 Discovery Project. With the support of Hydro Tasmania, a major exhibition is on display from July to November 2017 at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Hobart.